Foreword to the Eighteenth Edition

AuthorMarie Baker
(2019) 18 COLR vi
The dialogue between those who practice law and academic writing is important in a
number of respects. The clarification and informed critique of caselaw by academic
analysis furthers knowledge and understanding of the law by practitioners and the public
generally. This must be seen as a benefit to the common good.
But academic writers perform another and perhaps more important and far reaching role
in the development of the law. I mention, just by way of example, the important analysis
of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 by UCC’s John Mee, which led to
important case law and ultimately to the amendment of the legislation regarding the
prescriptive easement, and the rights of mortgagees.
The academic can and does offer a critical perspective which imports current thinking in
politics, sociology and history, perspectives apparent in the current issue of the COLR.
The judge and the practicing lawyer are necessarily constrained by the facts of the conflict
to be resolved and the weight of authority that informs the answer. The critical perspective
and questioning of the academic writer can propose an answer and even bravely point to
ways in which the jurisprudence is plainly wrong.
That this is a useful element in the dialogue is obvious.
The value of the academic commentary is apparent in the current edition, and I am
gratified by the range of topics and the erudition of the writing. I was also delighted to see
articles in Irish and French. Elegant and interesting pieces which I read with interest.
Two articles in particular merit comment. Anna Carroll’s article on the Magdalene
laundries, a dark moment in our recent history, brings together with great effect the
descriptions of the drudgery, daily humiliations and pain inflicted on the women who
spent years and decades behind those dark walls. In 2018, as Anna says, Dublin welcomed
some of the women and opened the doors of its civil buildings to them. I was amongst the
hundreds who stood and applauded, not in jubilation or in a mode of self-congratulation,

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